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Activists clash (peacefully) over animal testing at UCLA

Animal testing protest

On opposite corners of the intersection of Westwood Boulevard and Le Conte Avenue near UCLA, opponents and supporters of the university's experimentation on animals clashed today.  Our colleague Larry Gordon at the L.A. Now blog has the details:

About 400 people, including UCLA faculty, staff and students, have joined a pro-research rally on the northwest corner ... just south of the campus. The demonstrators are carrying signs with such slogans as "Animal research saves lives" and "Campus terrorism is not OK."

As numerous police officers stood by, the pro-research group briefly traded slogans across Westwood Boulevard with a smaller, rival rally of about 30 animal rights activists on the intersection’s northeast corner. Opponents of the research contend that UCLA scientists ignore the suffering of primates and other animals used in the experiments.

The anti-experimentation faction turned out in observation of World Week for Animals in Laboratories, an annual event organized by the group In Defense of Animals.  A website for World Week for Animals in Laboratories describes animal research as "cruel, unnecessary and outdated."  Among the studies it lists as unnecessary are "Nipple preference in nursing infant monkeys," "Effect of high-fat diets on mice sleep," and "Effect of exercise on rat health."  (Rats that exercised were healthier, the site notes.)

The rally in favor of the experiments was the first organized by a new group called UCLA Pro-Test and was scheduled to coincide with the planned animal-rights rally.  "With over 70% of Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine going to those who have used animals in their research, it is little wonder that scientists believe that such methods are still crucial in helping treat and cure modern diseases," reads a statement on Pro-Test's website. 

The Pro-Test group, an offshoot of an Oxford, England-based group founded in 2006, was organized by J. David Jentsch, a UCLA neuroscientist who was the target of a recent attack by anonymous animal-rights activists.  In the attack, Jentsch's car was set on fire while it was parked in front of his Westside home.  (The FBI recently announced that a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible has been increased to $75,000.)  Jentsch, who researches schizophrenia and drug addiction, conducts tests on monkeys.  While he acknowledges that some monkeys are killed as part of his research, he maintains that they do not suffer.  Jentsch was expected to speak at today's rally.

Pro-Test's hundreds-strong turnout at today's event no doubt received a boost from the Jentsch incident and other recent, violent incidents aimed at University of California researchers who participate in animal testing. 

On Monday, two activists, Linda Faith Greene and Kevin Richard Olliff, were charged with conspiracy, stalking and other felonies for incidents involving UCLA scientists and the POM Wonderful Juice Co.  Prosecutors allege that Greene and Olliff are part of the Animal Liberation Front, a group best known for sabotaging research facilities that conduct animal tests, often removing or setting loose the animals kept there.

Although the opposing demonstrations were described as peaceful, a substantial police presence was in place to monitor the event.

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Tom Holder, a leader of the Pro-Test group, speaks to those gathered at the UCLA campus on April 22, 2009. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times

 
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I'm going to ask again -- why does the Times refuse to ask even the most basic questions about animal use in research?

You foist on your readers a complete logical fallacy in the form of this Pro-Test statement:

"'With over 70% of Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine going to those who have used animals in their research, it is little wonder that scientists believe that such methods are still crucial in helping treat and cure modern diseases'"

I'm sorry - WHAT? Because scientists who are rewarded often use animals in their research, THEREFORE scientists believe using animals in research is necessary? (For prizes, or results?) What kind of bizarre logic is that? If these people could point to RESULTS, i.e. thus-and-so disease has been cured through the use of animals, you bet they'd be saying that. The question is, if they're not telling us what they've cured, what proof exists that they've cured ANYTHING with animals?

What we do know is that drugs, from Vioxx to Thalidomide, WERE tested on animals, were supposed safe, put on the market, and then killed and deformed a bunch of people because it turned out the animal tests had no relevance to human physiology.

Additionally, UCLA uses monkeys (and collects Philip Morris' six million dollars) for "research" on addiction to nicotine. How many chain-smoking monkeys do you know? And why should even one monkey have to die for a freely chosen human vice?

And for the final insult to our intelligence, the Times has the temerity to actually print David Jentsch's absurd contention that "While he acknowledges that some monkeys are killed as part of his research, he maintains that they do not suffer."

Really? And you feel no compunction about just printing that with no substantiation whatsoever? Just because a guy in a labcoat says it, it must be true?

I'm going to go buy a labcoat, then steal a car. When anyone questions my conduct, I'll just tell them I'm a scientist and I'm conducting research. Apparently in L.A. that's the ultimate "Get Out of Jail Free" card.

A bunch of bloated UCLA employees protesting during work hours is not news. We California taxpayers are paying them to protest! And UCLA gets funding for its nicotine experiments on primates from Philip Morris! Where else would such conflicts of interest be tolerated?

Such a corrupt institution.

Reader- just because you don't fully understand the subtleties of the science involved with this research, doesn't mean that it isn't there.

When scientists use animal research subjects, it is because absolutely no alternative exists. While vioxx was an excellent pain medication that caused cardiac problems in a sub-group of patients (often those already with cardiac issues), that doesn't mean all medication is bad. That is a good example of why you need many levels of investigation. It took animal research to develop vioxx and celebrex (which is still on the market)- they are different from other anti-inflammatories because they inhibit slightly different versions of the cox enzyme. We would not even know that enzyme existed without animal research, much less be able to specifically target it. However, once that level of research has been done, it is then necessary to do human trials. You can look up the different phases of FDA sponsored trials anywhere, here is an example- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinical_trial what you will see is that ALL medication trials start at the very beginning with a long pre-clinical phase. Meaning, the drug has to be tested at the bench, and in animals before we can possibly give it to a human. Then basic human safety trials happen, followed by trials in larger groups of patients, and then finally by post marketing reporting of adverse effects. With vioxx, the failure was not at the level of animal research or academic science. The failure was at the level of the drug company covering up what happened in the later human trials, when the drug was being given not just to a few healthy people but to big swath of the population This was a horrifying breach of faith on the part of the company. However, this is VERY different from something being wrong with the early basic science. Vioxx is often shown as an example by your group, but this holds no water.

If you would like a list of just a small number of the many advances that have been made by animal research, including things like insulin after testing in dogs, you can look here under 'medical benefits'. The list includes things like treatments for asthma, diabetes, breast cancer, Parkinson's, as well as antibiotics. If you're honest with yourself, you will have to admit that these advances have touched YOUR life, and that you should be thankful for them.
http://www.speakingofresearch.org/

In response to the last comment, listing all the medications, vaccines, and procedures developed as a result of animal research would be tedious. A short list would include:

insulin
antidepressants
bypass surgery
radiation therapy for cancer
every vaccine
modern anesthesia
organ transplantation

When people deny that humans (and animals, through improved veterinary care) have benefited from animal research, it's because they're willfully refusing to look at the facts, and willfully distorting history.

For example, thalidomide is often brought up as a sort of trump card. The truth is that thalidomide was tested in animals, but not PREGNANT animals. Since that tragedy, drugs are tested in pregnant animals, and the tragedy has not been repeated. Thalidomide is a perfect example of MORE animal testing being needed, not less.

The case of Vioxx is more complicated than "animal testing failed." There were problems in the interpretation of HUMAN clinical trials with the drug, as well, and our understanding of HOW Vioxx causes cardiovascular problems is still derived from animal research. Thus, we know not to pursue other drugs with this effect on prostacyclin production. See the relevant Wikipedia entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rofecoxib

Last time I checked, the difficulty/inability to quit smoking is caused by changes caused by nicotine in the brain, which are not fully understood, and this inability to quit smoking is a leading cause of death. Developing treatments for nicotine addiction is a public health priority.

Do you have some reason to think that euthanasia performed under anesthesia DOES cause significant suffering? Is there reason to think that euthanasia is more painful when performed by a scientist than when it's performed by PETA? The link below contains publicly available records from PETA's animal shelter, which euthanizes far more animals than it finds homes for:

http://www.petakillsanimals.com/downloads/PetaKillsAnimals.pdf

@Reader
Thalidomide is actually an example that supports more animal experiments. Had Thalidomide been tested on a bigger variety of species (not just mice) and on more animals (including many different stages of pregnancy) the teratogenic effects would have been picked up before it was widely used in pregnant women.
Fortunately, animal tests have to be much more thorough nowadays.

belcar,
"A bunch of bloated UCLA employees protesting during work hours is not news. We California taxpayers are paying them to protest! And UCLA gets funding for its nicotine experiments on primates from Philip Morris! Where else would such conflicts of interest be tolerated?

Such a corrupt institution."

I am a scientist, funded by the NIH to do research. I get paid a pitiful salary in comparison to how many years of education I have and the amount of time and intellectual investment I put into my job. This pitiful salary is meant to pay me for 40 hours a week, and instead I often work 60, and always have to work on the weekend. Why would I do this? Because I believe medical research is important, and my goal is to help develop new treatments so that when you and your loved ones get sick, we have a way to help YOU. It is a sacrifice to do this job, and don't let anyone tell you differently. Yes, scientists took time during the work day to stand together and show how important medical progress was to them. Far more scientists, patients, and doctors (800!) were willing to stand up for what they believe in than the activists were- there were only 30 people in all of southern California who were proud enough of their animal rights activism to be willing to come out and stand up for it in public in broad daylight. We did not pick the time for the rally- the animal rights group picked a time in the middle of the day on a Wednesday, so we came out to meet them at the time of their choosing. I'm sure we would have rather been in the lab. I'm also sure I'll make up for those 2 hours during the 10 unpaid hours I work this weekend, so I'm really not concerned about it.

The comment about Phillip Morris doesn't even need a response. I mentioned it in my previous post, and that is a very tiny percentage of funding as to be nearly irrelevant, almost all funding comes from the NIH. Most of the people (including David Jentsch) who have been victimized do not take any money from such companies.

Reader, the Nobel Prizes you mention were given to scientists who discovered new treatments, made discoveries in basic research that lead to new treatments, or in the case of more recent awards made discoveries in basic biology that are being used to develop new treatments. The Nobel Prize website has all the details.

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/

There's plenty more information on the animalresearch.info website and on the Speaking of Research Science blog.

What it comes down to is this, do you trust the scientists who have developed and are continuing to develop new treatments, or the AR activists who criticize from the sidelines and occasionally firebomb scientists who don't do as they ask.

I know who I trust, that's why I'm Pro-Test.

No more lies, no more fear!

While many protest against research on rats and mice, they will do everything possible to exterminate them in the wild. They breed fast and rapidly deplete the food supply and spread disease. Most do not protest against fried chicken or roast beef. However, they protest against something they do not even understand. When a child is born with Downs syndrome or a devastating inborn metabolic error, or inherited muscular dystrophy they cry that enough research has not been done with a small number of patients scattered around the world. How is it even remotely possible to study the disease and its course and develop a method to treat it without a model? Which cell culture model can duplicate the specific damage to a selected region in a tissue or organ? How can one duplicate the circulatory system with its benefits and limitations in drug development.

Are the people in favor of animal testing willing to give up their dogs and cats for experiments? What about babies as long as they're not working, contributing members of society, yet?

The fact that animal research has produced many medical breakthroughs is irrelevant for a couple of reasons:

1. Virtually every medical issue in the last several hundred years has been studied in animal models. Huge amounts of grant money go to animal research. Animal testing is required for drug approval. Crediting animal research with medical breakthroughs at this point is like saying most Major Leauge home runs before Jackie Robinson were hit by white people; it's true, but it's a vacuous statement because only white people were allowed to play. If the NIH granted out hundreds of millions of dollars to find alternatives to animal research, we would come up with something, but they don't, so it's not a statistically accurate comparison.

2. The ends don't automatically justify the means. I know many research scientists personally (I am a veterinary student) and am well aware of the fact that they care about their animals and take great pains to minimize their suffering. However, that does not change the fact that animal experimentation is an inherently exploitative relationship; it is not in an animal's interest to be used for research and then euthanized. As long as animals are viewed as property or scientific models their interests will never be appropriately considered.

To those who are wondering whether to trust the scientists or activists, look at the picture of the guy dressed up in a monkey suit. Is this the voice of reason? Is this the person you want to decide what drugs are available to you or your child?

The amount of oversight and regulation has increased dramatically because of the actions of a few activists. This has drastically increased the cost and time it takes to do research using animals. Animals are treated and maintained in conditions better than the people who use them. Regulations have already gone too far, and all of us are paying the price. The number of new drugs and treatments has slowed to a trickle over the years and more and more regulations slow the pace of research. Sometimes these restrictions are necessary, as discussed above, but many times they are simply not necessary and add barriers to potential treatments.

It is necessary and time for the silent majority to step in and say "Yes, we want to continue to improve medical science with carefully planed and humane animal research".

The point is, we dont NEED animals being used for research. There are new and more effective ways of doing these tests.

By definition, 'animals treated well while being researched on' is a complete oxymoron. Emphasis on moron. How can anyone possibly make the logical assessment that the animals are treated 'well' when they are being prodded, pulled, dissected (often while conscious since anesthesia is expensive), poked (with needles), substances poured down their throats and stuffed into their eyes, toxic gas forced into their lungs, killed, and the list goes on? How can that ever be a life of well-being? Just b/c they have food and water and shelter (albeit a 1x1 cage)? These so-called pseudo scientists are just worried about losing their grants and research funds and their jobs even though they know that animal testing is obsolete and bears poor results. There is no excuse for animal testing. Move to high-tech alternatives: living cell, tissue, computer models. And make alternatives a priority instead of fighting it!

The LA times reported 400 at the rally. It was more like 700.

Betty, If you have a pet animal, you will prod it and pick it up and play with it and the poor dumb animal has no way to protest. Children start protesting when they grow old enough to complain against the attention. These animals are housed in cages that provide a lot of space (more than a mouse can secure in the wild) and the cages are frequently cleaned and changed. They are comfortable during the handling process and will protest and bite if they are not. They explore the hand and sniff it and appear quite comfortable. Most studies involve momentary injections with compounds whose safety profiles are first tested in cell culture. Alternatively they are transgenic expressing genes that can change their behavior. This no more painful than a trip to the doctors for an injection and the mice are quite frisky and comfortable when put back into their cages. There are vets monitoring most of the process. These mice are so pampered, that they will not last a day in the wild. This crucial to ensure that distress does not affect the interpretation of the studies even without all the costly regulation. Finally when euthanized, every effort is aimed at reducing or preventing pain.

That is much more than you can say for your breakfast or lunch.

While I can fully agree with the concept that all animals are closely related to us and should be treated with compassion and respect, I see less of a justification in protesting against research than against meat, milk, leather,, training horses for the derby, riding horses, enslaving pets, spaying cats and dogs, setting out traps and poison or hunting. Once you accept the idea that it is OK to farm and eat them, studying them because they are so much like us and tell us a lot about ourselves is hardly detestable, particularly when there are no alternatives, unlike all the other items in the list.

"The point is, we dont NEED animals being used for research. There are new and more effective ways of doing these tests."

It would be very nice if this were true. Unfortunately, it is just nowhere near the state of current science. What are you imagining here? Probably computer models, right? This is how computer models work- you put in all of the information you currently have, and use that to predict new things. The problem is with the first step, the body (both human and animal- don't forget that medical research benefits pets too) is unbelievable complex. There are so many things that we don't know enough about to model: new aspects of the system or interactions between different body systems that we can't even yet imagine. What this means is that you can try your best, put in a bunch of incomplete information, and everything you predict with it has the potential to be very very wrong. Every tiny thing that is incomplete is a mistake that will be magnified. It has the potential to make new medications that work perfectly on a computer but would kill a living being. Many people are putting a lot of effort into alternatives, and lots of money goes to this as well, but we are just not there yet.

What else are you thinking about- probably skipping animals entirely and just injecting humans with random substances? (because without animal testing new drugs would actually just be a bunch of stuff we hope might work, not something where we know how it works already). Lets imagine that you want to help cure schizophrenia, which effects 1% of the population (think about it, 1%- that is a LOT of people), or depression, which affects even more, and you want to make a new drug. Lets say to do this you need to find out more information about how different sub-types of receptors bind to different types of neurotransmitters in the brain and to do it you need to extract brain tissue to run tests. How are you going to do this without animals? You can't- there is actually no way. Are you going to ask patients how they think their neurotransmitter binds? do you think you'd be able to answer that yourself? Are you going to request that patients allow you to remove their brains? Does that really truly seem feasible to you?

We need animal research subjects to develop new medical treatments. Animals were necessary for development of any medicine you have ever taken. Everyone wants to find new ways- if it was possible to use a computer don't you think we'd do it? Do you know how much less grant money that would use? Plus, lets just be practical. You don't have to come in every weekend to feed computers. You don't have to hire vets to take care of computers. You don't have to pay to house computers. Trust me, if they worked, we would use them.

" Posted by: a parent | April 23, 2009 at 04:19 PM

The point is, we dont NEED animals being used for research. There are new and more effective ways of doing these tests."

False.

Betty, I'm not sure what research you've ever been a part of (and my guess is none) but I don't know of any anywhere where surgical procedures are allowed without anesthesia. Anesthesia is acutally quite cheap and certainly one of the smaller costs of research. You can buy a bottle of isoflurane for about $20. Animal research is the second most regulated industry in the United States. Only the air traffic control industry is more heavily regulated. In fact, there is more regulation for animal research than on either the hamburger you last are or any veggies you may have.

Betty: Also, where do you think the living cells come from? Only cancerous cells can be immortalized and normal cells only live a short time. So any cells you would need for cell culture have to come from an animal source. You would still need a colony of animals in order to harvest the cells. Additionally, any computer models are based on information gained through animal models. What else are you going to base the programs on? And if you never do more research, then all your information is based on what was known when the program was written.

Please, oh please, do more than read the PETA talking points. Actually think about what they are proposing and think about whether that's really feasible.

Neurodegeneration,

While I certainly agree that most researchers have a vested interest in treating their animals according to "humane" standards, and that many of these animals are better off than if they were in the wild, they are still not as well off as they would be if we didn't breed them for our own purposes. Furthermore, some research most certainly DOES inflict pain, such as studies in pain management itself, so the idea that lab animals never suffer is false. The fact that mice, rats, and birds (more than 90% of the animals used in research), not to mention invertebrates, are not covered by the AWA doesn't exactly help matters.

By the way, I agree wholeheartedly that there is even less justification for using animals for food and fiber, much less entertainment, but that doesn't mean research is justified. Stealing a thousand dollars isn't as bad as stealing a million, but it's still a crime. Similarly, animal research may not be as exploitative as breeding animals for food, but it's still exploitative any way you slice it. For me, the very act of bringing an animal into the world solely for human purposes and then discarding it when done, however nicely you treat it in the interim, is morally wrong.

The widespread belief among animal rights activists that, no matter what the scientific questions, there are always alternative methods that do not require the use of animals illustrates two sad facts. First, the effectiveness of brainwashing by PeTA, PCRM, AFMA and the like. Second, the complete failure of scientists to get of their offices to explain the public the logic and importance of their research. The only thing to combat the mis-information is to educate. It is time for everyone doing medical research to dedicate time of their times to educate kids, the public and the media. At UCLA we start today!

Enough with the lies, enough with the mis-information, enough with the violence.

Stand up to defend (and yes, explain!) the merits of the pursuit of knowledge using animals when precautions are taken to minimize all unnecessary suffering.

I love animals just as much as anyone else does - they are wonderful, innocent creatures of God. I also love my son, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which is a terminal, progressive muscle wasting disease for which there is no cure. My son is going to be confined to a wheelchair by the age of 13, and die in his 20's, before he ever had the chance to really live. The only hope to save the lives of thousands of terminally ill human beings, is to humanely test new treatments and drugs on animals first. Yes, I love animals, but I love my son more. He is also an innocent creature of God.

Wow, this poll is great. As I watched over the span of 5 minutes, the "no" category went up by at least 50 votes. At the same time, the "yes" category would not change its number in response to new votes. Clearly this is in response to the fact that the yes votes have been winning, and someone has found some way to hack it. Very classy, guys.

I am alive thanks to animal research. These people who are against it really have no idea how many millions of lives have been saved.

There's so much misinformation in the anti-research comments here I don't know how to begin. Let's start with the low-hanging fruit. Comments below are addressed specifically towards drug testing because it is one of the most common attack points, and because I know a good deal about it.

1. Computer and in vitro models aren't used exclusively because there is some grand conspiracy to not use them, but because they aren't very good. The complex uptake, metabolism, distribution, excretion, second-pass metabolism, gut flora reductive metabolism, glucuronidation, etc. that you see in vivo, is impossible to mimic in a Petri dish. That's why benzene, nitrotoluenes, anilines, asbestos, etc., are potent carcinogens that are predicted as "safe" by in vitro models but are animal (and human) carcinogens. That’s why vitamin C and sodium chloride in positive in a variety of in vitro mutagenicity assays. Cell culture models aren’t the whole body. They will never predict what happens in a whole mammal.

2. Animals did exactly the right thing for Vioxx and thalidomide. Thalidomide was released in the U.K. based only on rat teratology data and that resulted in horrible birth defects. A thoughtful FDA reviewer held off on U.S. approval because she wanted *more* animal data. Subsequent tests in the rabbit proved that thalidomide is a potent teratogen and it was kept out of the U.S. market. That's why two species teratology is now required. Vioxx was safe in animals and safe in large populations of humans, including the thousands tested in Phase I, II, and III clinical trials. It was only when you went into millions of patients that the rare (1 in 50,000) adverse effects were seen.

3. Without testing first in animals, hundreds or thousands of drugs will go into people and produce adverse effects, including death. Animal rights people may say that's OK. I say you are nuts. I would have no qualms about killing rats and mice to prevent a child in a pediatric trial from dying. Likewise, I would sleep well at night killing hundreds of rats and mice to cure Alzheimer's, malaria, or colon cancer.

4. Someone referred to dissecting animals without anesthesia "because anesthesia is expensive." No one does this. No one. AAALAC, USDA, OLAW, etc. would shut you down in a heartbeat. Also, anesthetics are incredibly cheap. You simply don't know what you are talking about. And stop calling it "vivisection." No animal experiments done in the U.S. today (or for the past 3 decades) have dissected animals while they are still alive. First, there would be no point to it, and second, you would lose your funding and job in an instant.

5. People who talk about torturing animals with drug testing clearly have no idea how it's done. Animals are treated with drugs at well tolerated doses for a period of time (days or weeks) at doses that do not cause pain or distress. The most common adverse effect seen…and one used to guide further testing in animals…is a reduction in body weight of greater than 10%. If you lost 15% of your body weight you’d be proud of yourself. In a rat tox study, a 15% body weight loss means you’ve hit a maximum tolerated dose. If you see an animal suffering it is instantly euthanized (for rodents) or taken off the drug and given appropriate medical care (for larger animals). Dogs and monkeys are incredibly expensive to buy. No one wants to take a chance on harming them. At the end of the study they are euthanized by an overdose of sodium pentobarbital. They are essentially put to sleep, the same way thousands of animals in shelters are put to sleep. When the animal is confirmed dead, *then* you perform a necropsy to evaluate tissues.

6. Cures discovered using animals? There are too many to mention. How do you think all the cancer drugs are discovered...by seeing if they kill tumor cells in animals. Penicillin was discovered when mice given a lethal dose of bacteria survived in the presence of the drug. This startling discovery ushered in the modern era of antibiotics that has largely eliminated the former scourges of mankind (*and* animals) like plague, cholera, anthrax, leprosy, etc. Diabetes, AIDS, high cholesterol, inflammatory diseases...the list goes on and on. And I'm not even counting the mandated FDA tests. Yes, those animals are used because FDA makes companies use them. That's to identify safe doses in humans. I'm only talking about the discovery part. Without animals there would be no new cures for diseases.

7. Industry perpetuates animal testing because it's big business? Huh? What *are* you talking about?? Pfizer, Merck, Novartis et al., would *love* to get rid of animal testing. It's expensive. It is controversial. It is slow. If there were computer or cell culture models that could replace animals, industry would adopt them in a heartbeat. They haven't done that because they don't work. And it isn't for lack of effort. Organizations like the National Toxicology Program and the NIH have poured hundreds of millions into alternatives to animal testing. A few in vitro tests have indeed been developed that have reduced animal use, but we are decades away from having comparable non-animal tests for all toxicology endpoints. For everyone who says, "there are non-animal replacements," please complete the sentence with, "such as..." and give us some examples. You can’t come up with any I’ll bet.

8. Do abuses of animals occur? Yes, unfortunately. It's rare, but they do occur. And people get caught, fired, and sometimes jailed. The notorious video shot in the 1990s at Huntingdon Life Sciences in the U.K. showed a technician punching a dog. Just like people who attack people, there are nut jobs out there. What doesn't get mentioned by AR posts on this topic is that the individuals involved were fired, then prosecuted for animal cruelty. Most of the "abuses" that get reported these days by organizations like AAALAC and USDA are things like not cleaning cages often enough, or, most often, not keeping paperwork and documentation up to date. I know a researcher who was suspended from doing animal research for 6 months...a serious penalty that crippled his career. His offense...he moved his animals to an alternate room without notifying the IACUC of the location change.

9. There are those who say that using any animal for a human benefit (drug development, food, leather) is immoral and shouldn't be done, regardless of the benefit. To those of you, I respect your views, and I urge you not to eat meat and, if you become seriously ill, I respect your ethical decision not to accept any medications developed using animals. You may die, but you will still have a clear conscience. To those of you who say that animal research is unnecessary and doesn't help advance medical research, I don't respect your view because you simply are blind to the facts. You are like the anti-abortion activists who oppose marketing Plan B. The *real* reason they oppose it is they don't approve of birth control, but they can't say that. So instead they talk about health concerns, parental rights, morality, etc. Animal rights protestors who don't know the facts are destined to repeat the same disproved mantra over and over again: Animals are unnecessary. Computer models are all we need. We can test drugs directly on people and they will be safe.

It's time the vast majority of Americans who support sensible animal research stand up to the miniscule minority that are determined to use violent means to stop legitimate, legal research. Sensible laws like AETA are going to make it harder and harder for AR nutzos to terrorize legitimate researchers, and it’s about time.

"Posted by Betty" who has obviously never spent a second in a research facility but "knows" everything that goes on in research. I can unequivocally state that NO animals are being "disected without anesthesia" because of cost or any other reason. I work with these animals every day, as well as the wonderful, loving people who make taking care of the animals their life's work. Please - if you are interested in what happens in a research facility, talk to someone who has chosen this career path, not someone whose only motive is to spread fear and false statments and spew hate. That does not help anyone, particularly the animals.

The reason that we cannot do research without animals is that biology is extremely complex and we do not yet know enough about it to be able to design computer models that could predict how a real animal would respond to a treatment. Obviously, complex problems like brain injuries or metastatic cancer cannot be studied using cells in a culture dish. If we want reliable medicines for the ills that befall us, we need animal research before drugs are tested on people.

People can vote multiple times from the same IP and have each vote counted.

Ask a researcher "why wouldn't you perform experiments like these on other people?". The response would be, "Because it wold be cruel". Or "It's illegal".

Ask a researcher "why then, is it OK to perform cruel experiments on non-humans?" The response would be "because there are no other options". Or "because they're not human".

I bet the Nazi doctors and the racist syphilis experiments, among others, also made or could have made certain biomedical breakthroughs - maybe we should reinstate those, too? They had amazingly thorough rationalizations for why those were OK to do.

Or wait, is there actually ethics involved in this research? In that case, let's just do it to individuals who can't say "I'd prefer to not be experimented upon" or "no" in English or Spanish or French or any language we validate. Cries and struggling to get away are easy to ignore when you invalidate them.

There are alternatives to animal experimentation that have, can, and will be developed. We are smart enough to do it. It doesn't mean we have to erase our memories of what knowledge we already have. It means we have a responsibility that extends beyond selfishness.It means we know that animals are sentient beings who would prefer to not be cut up, burned, caged, drugged, or what have you.

Each one of those animals has a will to live that is just as strong as yours or mine, and the inability to empathize with them is as sick as any Nazi doctor's rationalization. Don't delude yourselves into thinking that those researchers were any different. Hindsight is 20/20.

I love animals, but also understand their important role in research. I am a research technician who works with rats in research.

People who oppose research and protest it need to actually learn more about animal research and the alternatives. Research animals are treated better then most pets, we are not allowed to do anything, no matter how minor, without a full committee overview. Before an animal research study is approved, an investigator must prove that they cannot perform the research without animals and must use the least sentient species they can. You also must prove that you are not just reproducing research.

I have yet to see a good argument for an alternative to animal testing other then using criminals such as rapists, murderers and child molesters. But I am sure there are plenty who oppose this as well.

A good place to learn more about animal research is:
http://www.aalas.org/index.aspx

How can you treat well animals and then vivisect them? Pure oxymoron! Whoever wrote this poll is a total ignorant: on the use of language and the concepts that go with that.

This is such a no-brainer. There is no such thing as humane animal testing. Period. If people want more research to find cures for diseases, why don't they start by putting down there double whopper, stop spraying chemicals on them that they call "perfume", eat some vegetables, drink some water and go exercise. Then we wouldn't have diseases to find cures for in the first place.

Dear Animal Rights Activists,

Nobody likes killing research animals. It's unfortunate, but it's for the greater good of humanity. The better we are as a species, the more luxury we have, the better we treat our planet and our fellow earthlings. See third world countries: no E.P.A. in China, hm, wonder why that is. Because people are starving and no one cares about animal rights or the environment. How many deer die every year by being hit by cars? Go throw red paint on cars. It's incidental murder for the greater good. It happens. Get over it.

Sincerly,

I'd like to see the "animal rights" people put their money where their mouths are. It's possible to get a Living Will; how about some sort of annotation on your medical records that you are willing to refuse any sort of medical treatment, medicine, procedure, etc. which has any component of animal products or animal testing associated with it?

Let's see one of the high-ups in PETA swear off her insulin. How about it?

I'm glad at least to learn that the demonstration was peaceful. Citizens can now understand that not every person who opposes animal testing is a "terrorist".

Think on this quote: Ask experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: "Because the animals are like us." Ask the experimenters why it is morally O.K. to experiement on animals, and the answer is: "Because the animals are not like us." Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction. ~Professor Charles R. Magel.

Isn't it truly sad that mankind has devised the most sophisticated devices and technology--even landing a man on the moon--yet we resist and continue to give flimsy excuses as to why we must continue to exploit and torture other living beings in the name of medical advancement to mankind?

If we truly valued ALL life, animal experimentation would be unthinkable.

I'm a graduate student in the biomedical sciences at UCLA. I love animals, and I personally refuse to work with them as much as possible. Especially rodents, as I love my hamsters.

However, I have in the past. And I realize the necessity of it. I know we've all been taught anything is possible, but some things simply aren't. Life is simply too complex. Vaccines, drug treatments, etc, all need to be honed and tested. While it's unfortunate that hundreds of thousands of mice are bred for and die for this service, it's neccessary for the world.

Let me repeat: it's neccessary for the world. In just humans, over the last several hundred years, we've had several outbreaks of the plague, diseases such as polio, etc. Research has saved us from many of that. It's also saved animals.

Anthrax was a huge problem to cattle in the 1800's. Epidemics.

Many diseases now still plague animals. The parasite that causes the lethal "African Sleeping Sickness" devastates African livestock. Uganda has 86% of their nations cows on drugs to try to fight it off. It's a wasting sickness.

The major work on insulin was done in dogs. Cancers and stem cell treatments are typically first explored in mice.

Yes, some research seems scary. Sometimes, it's harder to see the point. It may be harder to see in certain labs, but it's there. Someone studying stem cell treatments that lead to cancer cures seems more socially acceptable than perhaps someone studying neurological functions. But that's not fair to science. And I'm assuming everyone knows somebody who at some point in their lives at least has gone on antibiotics for an infection. Someone with diabetes? Cancer? Born with a genetic disease? It's easy to point it out in people, but as I mentioned, medical science benefits more than just humans, and I doubt very many people honestly believe it's only "companies" that benefit from it.

"Are the people in favor of animal testing willing to give up their dogs and cats for experiments? What about babies as long as they're not working, contributing members of society, yet?"

Are those who are opposed to animal testing willing to give up modern medicine? Or perhaps they would prefer that we skip the animal testing part and go straight to testing new treatments on humans?

BC, you better not the the vet who treats my pets.
if you learned surgery on computer models, you learned nothing.

The group behind the UCLA research rally, UCLA Pro-Test, has joined with two other groups in sponsoring a petition in support of animal research and against animal rights violence. To sign on, visit www.raisingvoices.net

Wow this is something else.

"I abhor vivisection…. I know of no achievement through vivisection, no scientific discovery that could not have been obtained without such barbarism and cruelty."
-- Charles W. Mayo, MD (1961), son of the co-founder of the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Charles W. Mayo

"During my medical education … I found vivisection horrible, barbarous and above all unnecessary."
-- Carl Jung, MD (1875 – 1961)

"Giving cancer to laboratory animals has not and will not help us to understand the disease or to treat those persons suffering from it."
-- Albert Sabin, MD (1986), developer of the live-virus polio vaccine

"What good does it do you to test something [a vaccine] in a monkey? You find five or six years from now that it works in the monkey, and then you test it in humans and you realize that humans behave totally differently from monkeys, so you’ve wasted five years."
-- Dr. Mark Feinberg, a leading AIDS researcher

"Atrocities are not less atrocities when they occur in laboratories and are called medical research."
-- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)


ANIMALS IN LABS ARE NOT "TREATED WELL"- shame on LA TIimes for posing such a misleading, obviously biased question. what a sad joke.

BB,

I am not learning surgery on computer models. Basic skills such as suturing can be easily (and effectively) learned on donated cadavers or models, and I am learning actual surgeries on real, live animals who NEED the surgery in question, as opposed to animals taken from a shelter or a dedicated breeding facility and euthanized when done. This is standard protocol at the vet school I attend, and it has produced plenty of capable, effective vets in practice today.

The fact that you seem to automatically assume that one must either be pro-animal research or confined solely to computer models shows a lack of insight or willingness to find creative solutions to a problem.

It's interesting to note that the animal rights extremists on this discussion board are so willfully ignorant of overall benefits achieved in medical science vis-à-vis animal research. Their information regarding current animal research methods is laughable. No scientists today have research procedures that involve "dumping carcinogens" "down the throats and eyes" of animals, and I challenge animal rights activists to produce legitimate documentation that illustrates such blatant animal cruelty is currently in practice at any legitimate US medical research organization. The conditions and care of medical research animals at these facilities are highly regulated as dictated by the US Animal Scientific Research Act of 1986, which requires a total of 3 regulatory licenses (each difficult to obtain in their own right) and independent board oversight to approve and monitor each research project proposal. Medical scientists are no longer conducting explicitly cruel animal experiments such as Harry Harlow's Pit of Despair as a direct result of this regulation and oversight.

This brings me to my primary question; which animal research projects are these animal rights advocates arguing against, the ones conducted prior to the Animal Research Act? If so the protestor then does not have an accurate picture of current medical research involving test animals. The people who protest against animal research in general and allege inhumane demonic treatment and living conditions are willfully ignorant of all the care involved in our current animal medical research projects to address these issues. Furthermore, their protests amount to nothing more than a plea that "animals are people too"! These animal rights advocates protesting against medical research are well-meaning fools.

Personally, I am a diabetic who is alive today as a direct result of the insulin medical research conducted on animals, so I am in a position to see how medical science can directly save lives. As a nation, we need to achieve better understanding of the strict oversight already utilized in animal research projects, and the specific benefits for the health and safety of the nation that medical science has provided us with.

Thank you Gretchen, for quotes from people who've passed over 50 years ago (and one 23 year old quote!).

Dated. Blatantly dated. And the 23 year old one is horribly inaccurate. Where do you think cancer treatments and knowledge come from?

The earliest findings of stem cells and the basis of radiation therapy was done by irradiating mice. Now, radiation therapy saves thousands of lives, and is already considered an old medicine, as science strives to improve.

You're right. Animal testing must be stopped. Let's just go directly to human testing. Any volunteers?

Animal rights people are such hypocrites. If you get sick or injured, don't go the hospital or you will be supporting animal testing. Ever break a bone and have to go the hospital? Ever have to be put under for surgery? Isn't it nice to know they can bring you back? Animal Liberation Front is nothing but ignorant angry people who can't see the error of their ways. Again, if you think animal testing is wrong and you get sick, don't see a doctor or go the hospital or you will absolutely be selling out. Bunch of hypocrites.

For those who are violently against testing of new products then you are part of two options. With no testing we humans take a chance on any new product causing severe medical damage. On the other side if you say we can not test animals then we could use humans of a variety of ages and origens. Think about it and you will realize that your position is without merit.
Personally, I would rather test a new product on an animal to ensure it is safe for my wife to use with no medical damage to her. To bomb the car of a lab worker in England is the height of stupidity. If you want a cause to "take the high road on" then fight poverty.

For all of you anti-animal testing people out there, I salute you! The way you stay away from the Dr. when you get sick. I am over 50 years old, and I have listened to you ignorantly defending your views most of my life. This is what I know. When you are in a car accident, fall off a latter or one of your kids get hurt, your anti-animal testing convictions are forgotten. I know many, many, many of you who have condemned animal testing your entire life… till you get cancer, need a hysterectomy, get diabetes… name it you give in. I, to date do not know of you telling an E.M.T. or Dr. No just leave me here because I oppose your medical education. I support your right to your views however, if you believe them stick to them. Then the next time I go visit my Dr. the wait time will be less. Thank you.

You're welcome lol. Here's a couple more from dead and ignorant people who you obviously have nothing in common with-

“I abhor vivisection with my whole soul. All the scientific discoveries stained with innocent blood I count as of no consequence.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“Vivisection is a social evil because if it advances human knowledge, it does so at the expense of human character.”

George Bernard Shaw

Our diseases of affluence, like cancer, diabetes, heartdisease, strok; our biggest killers today, are eliminated or greatly reduced by eating a whole foods plant-based diet. Study after study (human research) confirms this. One more quote-

"Isn't man an amazing animal? He kills wildlife - birds, kangaroos, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice, foxes and dingoes - by the million in order to protect his domestic animals and their feed. Then he kills domestic animals by the billion and eats them. This in turn kills man by the millions, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative - and fatal - health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer. So then man tortures and kills millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals. Meanwhile, some people are dying of sad laughter at the absurdity of man, who kills so easily and so violently, and once a year, sends out cards praying for Peace on Earth."
— David Coats

Invalid: I was wondering how long it would take for someone to call upon Hitler for defense.

Let me spell something out:
Jews=Human Beings
Animals=Not Human Beings

If you have any moral qualms at all about people having sex with animals, then you understand that animals and people are NOT the same thing.

 
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